Tips to save money during the holiday season

Toronto ON – is processing 50,000 orders per day for the Kindle ‘Fire’ and it hasn’t been released yet. Analysts have projected Amazon to sell over 4 million tablets in North America by mid-November. To keep up with the demand for technology this holiday season, Future Shop and Best Buy are ramping up their sales forces to help Canadians spend their hard-earned money. The retail philosophy is to have enough staff available to help consumers buy what they want this holiday season.

Do consumers really need to buy these new devices or are they getting caught up in the holiday hype? Not to mention, technology changes so fast that what’s current today will be outdated tomorrow.

“Household debt reached $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2011, and when you compare it to Canadian income, it’s a clear sign Canadians are living beyond their means,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “The holiday season is about celebrating with family and friends, not spending money on expensive gifts and accumulating more debt.”

Discerning the difference between needs and wants is an important lesson to remember at this time of year, especially if your debt is already out of control. “Creating memories and experiences this holiday season will far outlive the $199 spent on the tablet reader bought for Uncle Harry,” continues Schwartz.

Rather than adding to your debt by purchasing trendy items, consider these tips to save money during the holiday season with ideas for creating meaningful, low-cost gifts:

• Stroll down memory lane: Gather pictures, cards and letters together that relate to someone special in your life and write a short narrative about what each item(s) means to you and/or your family.

• Holiday-themed games night: Charades, Pictionary, Name That Tune and Family Feud are all easily adapted to the season.

• Food exchange: Help your friends with their entertaining by organizing an evening of ‘gab and grab’ – this can work with appetizers, side dishes or cookies.

• It’s about giving, not receiving: Gather a group together and volunteer your time at a shelter, food bank or at any organization in your community – it will be an experience you will never forget, and unlike technology, the memory will last forever.

About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

Consolidated Credit’s unbiased debt-counselling service offers alternatives to help people get their debts under control. Alongside assisting with consolidating payments, Consolidated Credit experts focus on education and understanding. Strategies include teaching basic but vital concepts such as how to budget, understanding credit and how to manage money.

Consolidated Credit also offers a free web-based budget and debt analysis tool and a plethora of website resources for people interested in learning more about debt and credit on their own, including tips on smart spending, buying a car, taking out a student loan and a survival guide for holiday spending. Its online learning centre offers free personal finance education booklets, financial calculators, resources, tips and suggestions. Also offered is a free iPhone and iPod application, “Budget Tool”, which can be used to manage expenses on-the-go.

Visit or call the toll-free phone line at 1.800.656.4079.

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For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Ann Dennis, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.(B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 (C) 416.985.1516 or [email protected].

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